Interview and analysis: Paddy Everingham – GUSA President candidate

Ruairidh Campbell
Seeking a third successive year on the GUSA Council, Paddy Everingham has certainly not lost any of his motivation for improving the role of sport at Glasgow University. After a year as Vice President, where he admitted he perhaps took on more than he could chew, Everingham clearly hopes to make the most of the sabbatical year that comes with the President title to develop his long term plans for GUSA.

Like his 2017 manifesto, an overarching theme is welfare and a desire to get as many students active in and around the University as possible. Although Everingham has dropped the target for every student to meet the World Health Organisation’s minimum standards for physical activity, his latest pledge to double student participation in sport is certainly ambitious. Whether this is achievable in such a short time period can be called into question, however it certainly highlights how driven Everingham is to have a meaningful impact in his year in office.

Membership costs are one of those issues that will affect any GUSA Presidential candidate, and Everingham recognises that they can put people off getting active at Glasgow University. The call to make sure that first years in halls get free gym membership as opposed to the £25 upgrade needed to get the full peak membership demonstrates his long term vision of promoting sporting activities early in the hope that students remain engaged throughout their time in university.

This “sport for all” philosophy is the backbone of Everingham’s manifesto, which argues that there should be no limitations for anyone wanting to get active. In particular, there is an emphasis on promoting free gym inductions and offering fun events such as the Colour Run to try and engage those students keen to get active, but put off by the intimidating atmosphere sometimes given off when joining a new gym.

It was interesting to hear Everingham discuss the importance of having an engaging GUSA Council; something this year’s President Isabella Heath has been criticised for. Specifically, he plans to engage fully with as many sports clubs as possible, attending training sessions and holding direct meetings with club committees. Admittedly, Everingham understood the potential time constraints, which could limit his ability to carry this out completely, and was unsure exactly how far he could maintain this pledge.

Nonetheless, what sets Everingham apart from most other GUSA Council candidates in recent years is his real desire to enact change for the wider community, as opposed to simply running for personal reasons. Talking extensively about his involvement in sport at university, Everingham is the personification of GUSA if ever there was one. Friendly, approachable and willing to do the hard graft, I am more than confident Paddy will be a successful President next year.


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